Fasting and Fat Burning

Increased Lipolysis and Fat Burning

There are a few very important steps in the process of burning fat. First, your fat has to be ‘released’ from your fat stores (fancy name for your body fat). Scientists call this lipolysis, and it involves the process of releasing the fatty acids that make up your fat, and moving these fatty acids into your blood stream so they can eventually be burnt as a fuel by your muscles.

After a series of steps that allow these fatty acids to get to the mitochondria in your muscles (the metabolic ‘engine’ of every cell in your body) these fatty acids go through a process called beta oxidation. This is the final step of fat burning – Once this has happened your body fat has now been used for energy. It is gone and it cannot come back. Lets review that quickly; fat must be released from its storage spot (our body fat), transported through your system, and get to a cellular engine where it will be burned (typically in your muscles or organs).

While we are resting, our muscles are the major contributor to our metabolic rate. During fasting our muscles start to switch over and start oxidizing fatty acid for fuel. In other words, when we fast, our muscles turn into fat burning machines. Despite the common assumption our bodies DO NOT attack our muscles and use them for fuel when we are fasting. In fact quite the opposite happens – Our muscles turn into the machine that actively burns our body fat.

Uncoupling Protein-3 is a very important protein found in our muscles that is associated with fat burning. When fat burning increases so does the amount of Uncoupling Protein-3 in our muscles.  Amazing research has shown that as little as 15 hours into a fast, the gene expression (amount of protein being built) for Uncoupling Protein-3 increases by five fold!

This same research also illustrates that the gene expression for Uncoupling Protein-3 continues to increase even up to the 40 hour mark of a fast.

This is very important research because fat burning should be the goal of every diet. You should never lose weight without losing fat. In “Protein Power”, Dr. Michael Eades goes so far as to recommend that we should “Divorce ourselves from the notion that you want to lose weight” and concentrate on losing fat.

Luckily, a 24-hour period of fasting shifts your body from the fed state to the fasted state, which causes large increases in both lipolysis (fat release) and fat oxidation (burning). Simply put, fasting allows your body to take a break from storing fat, and start burning it (which of course, is the EXACT reason we store bodyfat in the first place!)

Probably the most revealing information in the research I have read was found in studies published by a group of scientists from the University of Texas, Medical Branch at Galveston. It examined how short-term fasting affects fat and sugar metabolism in our bodies.

After only 24 hours of fasting, the amount of fat being released from people’s fat stores (lipolysis) and the amount being burnt for fuel (oxidation) had been significantly increased by over 50%.  This is a very significant increase in fat burning in a relatively short period of time.

This also helps illustrate how even short periods of fasting (approximately 24 hours), can have profound effects on our body’s ability to burn body fat.

Extract from the ebook Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon.

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